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Windows 7 Sells 240 Million Licenses in a Year

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Microsoft celebrated Windows 7’s first anniversary Thursday by announcing that the company has now sold more than 240 million licenses for the new operating system.

Actually, Windows 7’s commercial launchwas October 22, 2009, but Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) released the numbers a day early.

The last time that the company gave any status on how Windows 7 sales have been going was in late July, when Microsoft said it had sold 175 million licensesby the end of the company’s fiscal year on June 30, 2010.

“I actually felt in the beginning we needed to temper expectations a bit … but a year later, we’re on track. We’re right where we thought we would be,” Gavriella Schuster, general manager of Windows product management, said in a statement.

In fact, the company said, Windows 7 was running on 17 percent of all PCs worldwide in less than a year, and currently 93 percent of new consumer PCs ship with Windows 7. It has been hailed as the fastest selling version of Windows ever.

Further, Microsoft officials said last summer that the so-called “corporate refresh cycle” — the replacement of aging PCs and laptops in the enterprise with new ones running Windows 7 — is already underway.

In support of that, Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) released the results Thursday of a survey it commissioned of 1,360 enterprises worldwide regarding their experiences deploying Windows 7. The survey was conducted by Applied Research in a phone poll during August, according to Symantec.

Of the respondents, only 8 percent migrated to Windows 7 immediately while the median (average) said they typically wait for 6 to 12 months before beginning migration. However, the survey found that “very few” companies were waiting for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)before moving.

With past releases of Windows, corporate customers frequently waited until the first service pack was out before beginning aggressive deployments. Microsoft released the beta test copies of SP1 in July and said it plans to ship the final version in the first half of 2011.

“Respondents listed increased performance (69 percent), increased reliability (59 percent), and a better end-user experience (51 percent) as the most common factors influencing their decisions to migrate to Windows 7,” Symantec’s survey said.

Thorough planning appeared to be the key factor in making migrations go smoothly.

The five most time-consuming tasks, according to the report, were planning (17 percent), actually deploying the system (12 percent), reinstalling applications (10 percent), inventorying PCs (10 percent), and pilot testing (9 percent)

“Regarding return on investment (ROI), most (62 percent) set ROI goals. Of those, almost all (90 percent) actually met those goals,” the report said.

Symantec’s report is available online.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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